Ages ago I decided to recover my chair I sit in to sew (for sometimes hours at a time, obvs). I filmed the process so you can now head over to youtube to watch it!
I know it’s February and maybe a little late to be sharing some homemade Christmas presents, but I actually sent these off in January so it’s not that late really!
My uni friends and I usually get together for a second Christmas (Christmas 2) in January or February of each year – though sadly for obviously plague-related reasons we haven’t been able to this year. I think it’s over 10 years we’ve been doing Christmas 2 but hopefully we’ll be able to get together next year.
Anyway to start with we all bought little presents for each other – there are 8 adults and 2 children usually in attendance so the presents got a bit much and we switched to secret santa. We thought about still doing that this year and did a secret santa charity donation instead of actual presents (where you donate to the charity the person you picked has chosen) but we girls in the group decided to exchange little things anyway to cheer each other up – but with the budget of free!
So enter trying to thing of things to make from stuff already in my stash – which is vastly depleted because of sewing all the things last year!
I decided to make them each some reusable make-up pads as I love mine so much! I used 2 different jerseys for the back to make them specific to the person.
I then crocheted a bag to keep them in – which doubles up as a bag you can wash them in so they don’t clog up your washing machine!
And then I made us each (I made one for myself too while I was making them) a sleep mask as I find it much easier to get to sleep, if I’m having trouble drifting off, if I’m wearing a sleep mask.
I also included some books from my collection for each of my friends to make the gift a bit more substantial – I’ve felt a desire to get rid of lots of stuff since being in lockdown for so much of the year. Maybe you just look around your house more when you’re in it for so much?! I found myself looking at my bookcases going ‘why do I still have that’ so I had a massive clear out and passed things I thought they would like to my friends – win win!
I spent some of the very end of December, after Christmas, running up some more masks as wearing them at work made me realise that while I had quite a few, it was stressing me out to do washing in time to get them cleaned so I thought I’d make some more (and use up some fabric scraps at the same time) so I’d have plenty to choose from……..and then I was furloughed again. But I think masks will be with us to stay so I’m not mad that I’ve got a bigger collection now.
Some of these are made from more crafty cottons I had lying around and some are leftovers from garments I’ve made. They’re all the Good Neighbour Mask by Bayron Handmade.
I made a kind of flick book of all the masks! Lol! Also they’re all below in photo form!
I’m looking forward to matching them to my outfit, once I start going outside again!
I hope all of you out there – and especially in the UK – are coping okay with the ongoing lockdowns and everyone is well xx
I’ve done review posts (and then planning posts for the forthcoming year) for quite a few years on this blog and I wasn’t going to do one this year (I won’t be doing a planning post) but then I realised it’s been my most productive sewing year so far so it would be a shame not to celebrate all the things I’ve made.
I do want to acknowledge my privilege before I dive into my makes because I know a lot of people have lost friends and family members this year and have lost jobs and had their lives as they knew them fall apart. I myself work in a bookshop and was furloughed when the UK went into lockdown in March and was about to go back to work when we entered the second lockdown in November, but this was delayed until December. I was back at work for 4 weeks and a day when Gloucestershire was moved to tier 4 (today) meaning that I am furloughed again. I have been paid at least 80% of my wages that whole time and my partner and I have relatively low outgoings (and he went back to work in June) so we have been okay financially. I also have a flat to live in and hobbies to occupy me so I was able to enjoy most of my time not working. There were weeks when I was fed up of being in my house, but I did manage to visit family in the Summer when it was permitted and we have my partner’s family close by where we live. I have no children so I didn’t have to suddenly become a teacher over night and this means my time has been my own to do with as I please. I have also had regular online chats with my close group of friends from uni and I feel we have deepened out friendships – usually we try to meet up once per year and have a whatsapp chat but it has been nice to feel like we are close together even when we are (literally in some cases) thousands of miles apart.
With all that said for the first 3 or so months of the lockdown I sewed ALL THE THINGS that I had in my mind to make for probably years. I had bought fabric with specific projects in mind and then never quite got around to them, even with moving to working part-time last June (2019). In 2019 I made 16 garments and in 2020 I made 35 garments (2 of which I haven’t yet shared here) and refashioned one. That’s quite a difference!
I’ll start with jackets and coats – I didn’t realise I made 4!
And of course, no sewing year for me would be complete without a bunch of shirts!
I also did some epic scrap-busting and made a load of Inari Tees from larger scraps I had in my stash.
2020 was also the year of making jeans for me – I made 5 pairs in total!
I also made some other trousers that weren’t jeans!
I finally made 2 pairs of Carolyn Pyjamas, the fabrics for which I had had for years and years!
I made another Cleo dungaree dress mostly just to use up some leftover denim. I’m not sure how much wear it will get to be honest!
I also made another Sew Over It Nancy Dress – again not sure how much wear it will get, though it will certainly have to wait for warmer weather either way.
Another make I’m not sure will get much (if any) wear is this Sallie Jumpsuit. The fabric is a little too thin and clingy for me to feel completely comfortable.
On the opposite end of the scale is my denim Roberts dungarees which have already had sooo much wear! They’re so comfortable and a good choice for days when I’m mostly sitting at home but don’t want to wear sweatpants!
It’s no wonder after all the sewing – and all the new items for my wardrobe – that I slightly ran out of steam after the first few months! Though a few things were made after the first main batch, the vast majority were made in April, May and June.
I want to try my hand at underwear in 2021 – I bought some supplies to make period pants, to find another way to be more sustainable and reduce my impact on the environment. I did made reusable make-up wipes this year and they have been a triumph!
I also stopped wearing bras really at all last Winter (under so many layers of clothes when it’s freezing at work, who can tell anyway!) but in the Summer with only one layer on I do kind of want at least something else to protect and slightly support my boobs so I’m going to have a go at making some bralettes. I’m lucky that I don’t need the support of underwiring or more supportive bras – when I was younger (like a teenager) I wished I had bigger boobs but now I’m so glad they’re not!
I’ve also got a (rescheduled) wedding to attend in the Summer so I’ll definitely be making a new outfit – I don’t feel like I went out that much before the pandemic but I like having bigger events to go to as an excuse to make something fancier than I would wear in my every day life.
But these are my only plans – I used to plan yearly and monthly my makes but I almost never followed through with the plans so I’m just have ideas for now. And now my wardrobe if necessary items is pretty much complete I might have a go at some more frivolous makes just for fun – and to expand my sewing skills!
Happy New Year! And thank you for following my making journey this year – I’m so thankful I have had sewing to keep me occupied for the vast majority of 2020!
A couple of years ago I made this Christmas bunting and have finally got around to blogging this tutorial so you can make some yourself. I went for the maybe slightly garish but traditional Christmas colours of green and red but I think it would look cute with gold or silver with red or green. Or all in the same colour!
I didn’t really write proper notes on how much fabric I used, but I would have thought half a metre of each colour would be enough and 3.1m of bias binding for the top.
You can download the background template and the Christmas tree pattern here. The text I used was stencil font in size 185pt but you can pick a font you especially like.
I cut out 18 red backgrounds and 16 in green – you need 2 pieces per triangle. I wrote out a plan of which letters I needed in which colours so that the colours were opposite to the backgrounds, making sure the Christmas trees were all on red – which worked out perfectly!
I stitched each letter on with a narrow zigzag stitch to minimise the fraying potential. You could, of course, use felt for your letters so then you could stitch them with a straight stitch.
The letters ended up looking a little hairy but from a distance I think they look fine!
For the Christmas trees, as well as zigzagging around the edge, I used some yellow thread from my stash to make it look like it had some tinsel on – without it it looked a bit bare and like…..just a tree, instead of a Christmas tree.
The background pieces have a 1cm seam allowance. Once you’ve sewn all your letters (and trees) onto a single layer of backing fabric, then place it right sides together with a matching backing piece and stitch around the 2 diagonal sides, but NOT THE TOP. Then trim the point, and turn it the right side out, pressing them so they lie flat. Then line them all up, in order, and stitch the bias binding on the top! And voila! A new Christmas decoration!
I know this Christmas is probably not going to be like it has been in previous years but I think making things feel festive at home is a small thing we can each do to try to celebrate however we can.
Do tag me on instagram if you use this tutorial – I’m @sewingmachinations.